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Portugal’s Jihadists

portugal jihadist

Jihadists are becoming increasingly strident in their vows to reconquer Al-Andalus—of which Portugal is a key component—for Islam.

Portugal’s Jihadists

Soeren Kern | Gatestone Institute | September 14, 2014

At least a dozen Portuguese nationals have joined jihadist groups fighting in Iraq and Syria, according to new estimates by Portuguese counter-terrorism officials.

All of the Portuguese jihadists (ten men and two women) are under the age of 30 and most of them are children of immigrants, but so far none of the individuals is known to have returned to live in Portugal, at least yet.

Portuguese authorities are—for now—downplaying the threat these individuals may pose to Portugal upon their return home from the battlefields.

Security analysts from Spain, however, are warning the Portuguese government against complacency. They argue that although the number of Portuguese jihadists may be small compared to other European countries, radical Muslims are becoming increasingly strident in their vows to reconquer Al-Andalus—of which Portugal is a key component—for Islam.

Al-Andalus is the Arabic name given to those parts of Spain, Portugal and France occupied by Muslim conquerors (also known as the Moors) from 711 to 1492, when both the Moors and the Jews were expelled by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella.

Most of the territory of modern-day Portugal was occupied by the Moors for more than 500 years, from 711 until 1249. During that time, the territory was known by its Arabic name, Gharb Al-Andalus (The West of Al-Andalus) or Al-Gharb (The West).

Jihadists believe that all of the territories Muslims lost during the Christian Reconquista of the Iberian Peninsula still belong to the realm of Islam. They claim that Islamic law gives them the right to return there and re-establish Muslim rule. This belief is based on a verse in the Koran that reads: “And kill them wherever you find them and expel them from wherever they have expelled you…” (Koran 2:191)

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